"Farm groups and members of Congress are jumping the gun in their efforts to stop U.S. EPA from making its air pollution rules tougher on dusty rural areas, the agency's second-in-command said yesterday.
The stopgap spending bill passed by the House last week included an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), that would prevent EPA from updating the national air quality standards for coarse particles. It was a pre-emptive strike, meant to stop the agency from following through on a set of recommendations from staffers that were seen by farming groups as a threat to rural areas (E&E Daily, Feb. 19).
Some farmers and other rural industry groups are claiming that EPA is trying to crack down on farm dust for the first time. They say many rural areas would have trouble meeting the new standard because of the dust kicked up by cattle and trucks on dirt roads."